Special to Gatorsports.com
BATON ROUGE, La. — Florida’s struggles, both on the mound and at the plate, continued Saturday afternoon, as No. 14 LSU won the series-deciding game in decisive fashion, 11-2.
Florida (26-16, 7-11 SEC) only mustered eight hits, and its only two runs were once again produced by freshman third baseman Cory Acton, who smacked a two-run home run in the fourth inning, his third of the series.
LSU (26-15, 11-7) struck early and often, scoring the game’s first three runs before the Gators managed to record the second out of the first inning. The Tigers finished the first with three runs, tacked on three more in the second, and added three more in the third, building a 9-0 lead.
Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan had a long talk with his team after the game and missed media availability. The Gators are 1-8 in SEC road games and have allowed 11.8 runs in those nine games and have been outscored 107-42.
The Gators saw sophomore starting pitcher Jack Leftwich (4-3) chased after one-plus inning, with his final line showing six runs (all earned) on five hits, one walk and two hit batters. Relievers Jordan Butler and Tyler Dyson did not fare much better, as LSU regained its nine-run margin even after Acton’s homer. And Florida’s pitching staff eventually finished the game with 11 hits allowed, four walks, and four hit batters.
Florida had chances to get back into the game in the sixth and eighth, but untimely strikeouts ended both rally opportunities.
Junior outfielder Austin Langworthy wrapped up a great series at the dish with a 3-for-4 afternoon – which included a double and a run. He also threw 2.2 scoreless, no-hit innings Saturday when the Gators were in dire need of effective pitching.
Langworthy’s three-hit game brought him up to a .500 batting average (6 for 12) for the three Baton Rouge games, and he finished with zero runs and one hit allowed in four full innings on the mound.
Florida returns home and faces Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a three-game series with Kentucky, which begins Friday at McKethan Stadium.